The Madeira School is a boarding and day school in McLean, Va., for girls in grades 9–12. The campus sits on 376 acres overlooking the Potomac River. And it is located about 15 minutes from Washington, D.C. The school had taken full advantage of its proximity to Washington by developing a landmark Co-Curriculum that provides every junior with an internship on Capitol Hill.
Madeira has long enjoyed a sound reputation for the quality of its educational program. So what brought them to Neustadt Creative Marketing? Read more after the jump.
Madeira approached NCM with a number of marketing challenges. First, how does a single-sex school make its pitch when prospects are looking mostly at coed options? Second, how does a school that serves both day and boarding students appeal to both prospect pools?
In short order, we developed a research protocol and started on separate examinations of prospects and alumni in both the day and boarding pools. A competitive analysis as well as analyses of market attitudes – which included input from consultants and feeder schools – factored into NCM’s recommended positioning for Madeira. Research showed that the vast majority of prospects were not looking – first and foremost – for single-sex schools. Most wanted academic strength and individualized attention.
The situation on the ground at Madeira played right into the emerging narrative. The Madeira faculty is highly credentialed and innovative in their approach to classroom pedagogy. Head of School Pilar Cabeza de Vaca, an educator of immense talent and vision, brings international experience and exciting ideas about unifying the curriculum and providing global immersion experiences. Beyond the research, these factors made the case for positioning Madeira as a model of curricular expertise. Madeira knows how best to challenge a student and play to her unique strengths.
Once the strategy sailed through, the creative work began. A school-wide logo with an alternate logo treatment for admissions came first, followed by Web and print designs that were worked up simultaneously. The collaboration between NCM’s creative team and the Web design team at Fastspot made for a seamless presentation across platforms.
To bifurcate messaging to boarding and day audiences on the print side, NCM designed a custom carrier that included the viewbook and a flipbook highlighting the boarding experience. Prospects looking at the day program would be met with the viewbook alone, in keeping with the expectations of families looking at schools locally. The website would feature lush imagery and a stunning virtual tour to give prospective boarders a sense of campus. And the information architecture would make it easy for boarding prospects to find the information they need without distracting day school prospects. (Read Fastspot's Madeira write-up for details on their CMS.)
NCM’s goal for the project was concrete improvements in admissions performance on both the day and boarding fronts. To date, the school has experienced record turnout at open houses, which it attributes to the website and NCM’s ad strategy and design templates. Most impressive, the Madeira Office of Admissions reports an almost 70% increase in boarding applications and a near 20% increase in day applications – providing stunning affirmation of our strategic insight and close collaboration with this fine institution.